Bringing Together the World of Otolaryngology Virtually

July 2020 – Vol. 39, No. 6
James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS/F EVP/CEO

James C. Denneny III, MD
AAO-HNS/F EVP/CEO

The AAO-HNS Board of Directors, after considerable thought and discussion, moved the in-person AAO-HNSF 2020 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience in Boston to one of a virtual experience due to safety concerns and unavailability of the facilities to hold the meeting. We now enter the “new frontier” of planning and producing the first worldwide virtual meeting in otolaryngology this September. This formidable task has created a great deal of excitement among our staff and throughout the meeting planning team, led by our Annual Meeting Program Coordinator, Mark K. Wax, MD, and Coordinator-elect, Daniel C. Chelius, Jr., MD. The virtual format will allow us to introduce innovative programming that will expand access to cutting-edge content. We are also pleased to share that we will be able to offer many community and relationship-building networking activities that are tradition to the Annual Meeting via virtual events.

As we endeavor to bring together the world of otolaryngology in both a geographic as well as specialty sense, we are presenting content over a six-week period from September 13 through October 25. The meeting will kick-off with the Opening Ceremony featuring Joel Selanikio, MD, our outstanding speaker who will be discussing COVID-19 and its relationship to the future of otolaryngology practice. He will then host a Q&A session immediately following his presentation. Succeeding that will be 45 hours of live content over the next three days. Built into the schedule of live events are breaks for networking, wellness activities, exhibitor appointments, and more. Immediately following the Opening Ceremony over 300 scheduled hours of new on-demand content through the meeting platform. The virtual format will allow attendees a much broader selection of visual presentations that they can access at their convenience for several months and then subsequently on our education website.

One of the most exciting aspects of this meeting will be the designation of specialty specific weeks during which topics related to specific specialties are presented for a week, rotating each week through the conclusion of the meeting. We are collaborating with a number of the specialty societies to augment content with reciprocal access during the designated week focusing on their respective areas of expertise. These education sessions will run in the evening during the week as well as selective weekend hours and offer both prerecorded and live sessions with Q&A and chat room functionality. Included in these groupings will be the highlighted submissions from the International Symposium. Additionally, there will be over 300 posters with video presentations and CME credits available throughout the meeting. The education content of the entire meeting will reside on our new platform OTO Logic, formerly AcademyU®, following the conclusion of the meeting. One of the highlights of the meeting will be the be the Women in Otolaryngology (WIO) Section 10th anniversary celebration capped off by the premier showing of a fabulous film documenting the history of the WIO.

The AAO-HNS recognizes the severe disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to otolaryngologists across the globe, particularly the prolonged interruption preventing return to practice. We are committed to providing exceptional value to our members and specialty. We are offering free registration to our 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting to all who purchase our new, next generation flagship education product FLEX by August 31. This opportunity gives participants access to over 600 hours of learning opportunities delivered on multiple devices whenever you choose.

I would like to recognize and thank the many individuals and organizations that have worked diligently for more than a decade to formulate the “Complex Pediatric Otolaryngology” subspecialty certification program described by Dr. Nussenbaum in this issue of the Bulletin. The thoughtful process used by the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (ABOHNS) involved all stakeholders in multiple discussions over many years and truly serves the best interests of otolaryngology, our patients, and physicians. The ABOHNS solicited, received, and incorporated input from the pediatric otolaryngology and general otolaryngology communities, and the societies representing them into the final product. The joint statement endorsed by the ABOHNS, ASPO, and the Academy clearly enforces the ability and competence of Board-certified otolaryngologists to evaluate and treat pediatric patients. “The evaluation and management of pediatric otolaryngology patients are within the scope of practice of diplomates of the ABOHNS board certified in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. In fact, Pediatric Otolaryngology is explicitly stated on the primary certificate.” The Board of Governors deserve special mention for their role over many years and representing the specialty and helping to craft the final agreement.